Thursday, August 5, 2010

befriend silence

Silence can be that road of discovery leading you into the other person’s heart. Silence has the capacity to place one in humility, if it causes you to adopt a posture of receiving. Silence is often thought of as a gift one gives to the other. But it is more than that; it also proves a way to receive the gift of honest self that the other has just given to you.

Receive the gift of the other,
no questions asked,
no accusations made,
no judgments pronounced.

What they have spoken is human, and you are human, too. Silence can remind you to be human. It can, therefore, ennoble us because to be human is to possess intrinsic dignity due to a condition that can’t be changed: the condition of our unconditional lovedness.

Just receive the gift of the other to you, no matter if the gift unsettles you. Receive the words they have spoken without feeling compelled to reply with more words, words of your own.

After all, their words are not your words, nor should they be.
That is what makes them them and you you.
Let them be who they are through the discipline of silence.
Silence helps us lay down our desire to coerce another into conformity.

(Be silent now.
For a few seconds.
Wait before reading on.)

Sometimes God’s words to us are wordless. Therefore, God becomes apparent to another when we simply respond with a silence that says, “I hear you. I accept the gift of your words, the gift of you, without judgment, with empathy, with tears, if tears are needed, or with smiling eyes, if pleasure comes begging.” Silence and solidarity go hand-in-hand. Most often, the gift of listening presence is the greatest gift we can give to another because it is the gift God always gives to us. Remember, God’s replies are indescribable because they go beyond words. We cannot show God to one another without the grace of simple silence.

To take up the addiction of spoken reply is as destructive as treating loneliness with heroin. It destroys oneself and it demeans those around you. Therefore, let it be enough for us to just listen, to simply listen and receive what the other has spoken.

Recollect the grace of pure presence.
Wordless togetherness
is a road to friendship,
so befriend silence.

Allow space in your life for silence.
Admit passage to it.
Let it rest in its harbor.
Its harbor is your heart.
God made it that way.

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